Pc denies inventing Plebgate words

Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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The police officer at the centre of “Plebgate” has denied at the High Court that the words he attributed to former Government chief whip Andrew Mitchell were an “invention”.

Mr Mitchell’s QC, James Price, challenged Pc Toby Rowland that he gave his version of their September 2012 encounter in Downing Street to justify giving the Cabinet minister a warning under the Public Order Act.

Pc Rowland’s account of the altercation over whether Mr Mitchell could cycle through the main vehicle gates was the basis of a story in the Sun, which the MP claims is libellous.

Mr Mitchell claims that the report, which News Group Newspapers (NGN) says is substantially true, meant he was guilty of launching a grossly offensive and arrogant attack at Downing Street police officers, branding them “f****** plebs”.

Asked if he had used the words attributed to him by Pc Rowland – “Best you learn your f****** place – you don’t run this f****** government – you’re f****** plebs” – he told Mr Justice Mitting: “I did not say those words. I would never call a policeman a pleb, let alone a f****** pleb.”

The 58-year-old MP for Sutton Coldfield has accepted that he did say, under his breath but audibly “I thought you lot were supposed to f ****** help us'”, but not at the officer.

Pc Rowland, who is in turn suing Mr Mitchell over statements he made from December 2012 which he says accused him of fabricating his allegations, has said he warned Mr Mitchell because members of the public were visibly shocked by the MP swearing at him.

Mr Price said the shocked members of the public were an invention – as were the words he said Mr Mitchell had used.

“The words you attribute to Mr Mitchell are an invention and they were invented for the same reason – because you could not conceivably have justified giving a Public Order Act warning on what Mr Mitchell actually said.”

Pc Rowland said: “No, the evidence I have given is the truth. I recorded exactly what Mr Mitchell said as soon after the event as possible when the facts were fresh in my mind.”

Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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